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Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Are You REALly Ready for a Baby?

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

I knew nothing about real food and natural living when I got pregnant with my first child. And there was nothing natural about the process of fertility treatments with no explanation why my body wasn’t working.

Fast forward a few years (and more treatments and another child) to when I got pregnant naturally with my third. I knew so much more. My lifestyle was so drastically different (like drinking raw milk and eating raw liver instead of being terrified of anything raw during pregnancy).

It was almost like for the first time I was REALly ready for a baby.

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

What Was Missing?

As I look back on all three pregnancies there is one thing I wish I had had – a week-by-week guide based on a traditional way of living.

For all you mamas-to-be you are in luck! It does exist now!!

The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide To Pregnancy and Childbirth has everything you ever wanted to know – from what’s going on during the first two weeks (that you aren’t actually pregnant) to natural birthing options, placenta encapsulation and best stroller options. For real, it has everything!

Genevieve Howland (author and founder of mamanatural.com) has helpful tips on easing morning sickness naturally, what nutrients you and your baby need at different stages and the benefits of breastfeeding.

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Great Read

I’m a Type A person that wants to read every little detail about what’s going on during pregnancy. I sometimes wish there was a day-by-day or hour-by-hour handbook (seriously, I’d read it). So it’s been so fascinating (even when not pregnant!) to read this amazing resource.

In fact, it’s so cool I’ve caught my nine-year-old reading it!! I’m just careful about which parts she’s reading.

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Get Yourself Ready

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or know someone else who is this book is a MUST! Grab a copy for yourself and one to give away.

Looking back on my baby shower there are really only a handful of things I needed – cloth diapers, a good baby carrier (love my BabyHawk!), a bouncy seat…and a pregnancy guide that showed me how to do things the REAL way.

Are you REALly ready for a baby? That’s kind of a loaded question – nobody is really. But whether you feel ready or not, the Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth is for you!

I have been compensated for my time to write this review but all opinions expressed are my own. I have not been paid to post a positive review.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?

How to Handle Food Allergies When You’re Not at Home

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?

It is very common in the world of real food to be on some type of restricted diet. Whether it be paleo, AIP, keto, GAPS, low FODMAP or another healing diet. Then there are those who have to avoid certain foods due to allergies. Either way it makes eating somewhere other than your own home challenging.

What Can You Do?

The easiest solution is to always eat at home. But let’s be realistic. There will be times that you have to eat out or get an invitation from a friend to have dinner together or even eat with family. In order to avoid going hungry or appearing rude you need to take measures to ensure there is safe food for you and your family.

I deal with it all the time. My family has dealt with a myriad of allergies over the last few years. This is in addition to trying restricted healing diets. We even did have a stretch where we didn’t eat at a restaurant for over a year because there were just too many severe allergies. But I’ve learned how to live with food restrictions and still eat somewhere other than my own home. Here are some simple coping strategies to make this task easier.

Eating at a Restaurant Tips:

  1. Choose a restaurant with an actual chef. They can accommodate almost any request.
  2. Ask for your food plain. Most restaurants have chicken breast and broccoli. They can even cook it in water to avoid unhealthy or unsafe fats.
  3. Choose meals with individual components (meat, vegetable, starch) instead of mixed foods like pasta and burritos.
  4. Order a few sides instead of a main dish. A baked potato, salad and a vegetable makes a good meal.
  5. Don’t be afraid to bring your own food. A salad is a great grain free option. Simply bring a small bottle of your own dressing to make it healthy. I often bring extra raw vegetables for my kids to add to their meals since restaurants have a limited selection and they are sometimes prepackaged with unsafe fats.
  6. Speak up! It’s not always easy, but in my experience most restaurants do their best to accommodate special dietary needs. My little secret? Regardless of why you have to avoid the food I always say it’s an allergy. They’re more likely to respond well to an allergy request than an “I don’t eat that” request.

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?Eating with Friends or Family Tips:

  1. Ask for the menu ahead of time. Let your host know you have allergies and you want to be sure there are safe foods. It’s much easier to work through the details in advance than showing up and having to decline everything offered.
  2. Offer to bring a component of the meal. If grains are the problem you can offer to bring homemade bread or rolls that are safe. Maybe you want to be sure there will be plenty of vegetables. Offer to bring a salad or roasted vegetables. Bring something safe so there will be at least one thing you can eat.
  3. Eat a light snack before you go. Then even if there are limited options you won’t go hungry. Enjoy what you can eat and focus on enjoying time with friends. Don’t draw attention to the food.
  4. Be the host. This is usually my default. I’m glad I like to cook! Since my kids are the ones with allergies I try to take the responsibility of hosting and preparing special food.
  5. Speak up! This applies to friends and families just as it does to restaurants. Most people are more than happy to accommodate special diets. If it’s someone I don’t know well I still always call any food restrictions allergies.

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?It’s Just Food.

Food restrictions tend to cause me anxiety. Sometimes the most important thing is to remember it’s just food. It’s just one meal. Focus on the conversation and the company. Know that most people want to help and are more than happy to make special accommodations for you. It may take a little courage, but you can work around food allergies without being stuck at home. Then you can turn around and be a blessing to someone else when it’s your turn to host. It’s always my first question when I invite someone over for a meal – do you have any special dietary needs? When the host starts the conversation, it makes the whole process easier for everyone.

There is no need to shy away from family gatherings or a special meal out when dealing with special dietary needs. Simply follow these tips to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone!

How do you cope with special diets when you’re not at home? Do you have any tips to add to the list?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Don't let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I'm sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

Over Three Weeks Of Real Food Allergen Free School Lunches

Don’t let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I’m sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

Don't let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I'm sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

School is right around the corner (I said it…don’t throw tomatoes). Depending on where you live it could be a month, a couple weeks or even days away!

Along with school comes the dreaded lunch packing.

When you have to work around allergies your choices are limited. No crackers and cheese. No more pb&j. Scrap half of the cute Pinterest ideas.

There are even plenty of posts claiming to have allergen free ideas…that really aren’t allergen free at all except for maybe one or two options from a long  list. Or you have to do a bunch of substituting on your own to make them allergen free. No thanks.

But allergy friendly lunches don’t need to be boring, bland or void of nutrition. They don’t need to be complicated either. In fact they can be downright fun! Just ask my kids.

I’ve been packing school lunches for two years now. I tend to get in a rut sometimes. So I like to have a list on hand of safe, healthy and delicious lunch ideas. Today I’m sharing them with you!

These are the best real food allergy friendly lunch ideas around. And they are all staples in our lunches.

Don't let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I'm sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

Pick your favorites, make some weekly lunch menus and rotate through them. I’ve got enough ideas to create three full weeks of unique lunches. Problem solved.

To start I’ll share one of our favorites. Then head over to Kitchen Stewardship where you’ll find the rest of my allergen free school lunches.

Allergen free bread or pancakes with sunbutter [this brand is 100% nut free – I like to use the green lid since there are no extra ingredients] and pectin free strawberry jam, cherry jam, peach jam, grape jelly or red plum raspberry jellyThis is not your traditional pb&j. But trust me, your kids will love it!

—>>> Check out the rest of my allergen free school lunches!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

The REAL Reason I’m Teaching My Kids To Cook

Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I’m teaching my kids to cook. Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

 

“It’s a good thing I like to cook.”

I made that comment to my husband earlier this week. And I really meant it.

With all of the varying allergies in our house cooking is a full time job. I’m not joking. I spend half of my day in the kitchen.

It’s a rare treat if I can come up with a meal the whole family can eat. There is no such thing as convenience food (unless you mean a box of raisins.). Eating out? That’s a thing people do?

Even as we look ahead to visiting family this summer I have to do the meal planning. I don’t get a break whether I’m home or traveling.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Nobody else can cook for my family.

There is no substitute for me. Even my husband doesn’t know how to cook.

It doesn’t matter if I’m sick.

It doesn’t matter if I’m tired.

If I don’t cook, my kids don’t eat.

I happily accept the challenge of keeping my kids well fed and healthy. It is actually my passion.

The REAL Reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not to get me off the hook!

Everyone deserves a break.

But let’s be honest. Everyone needs a break sometimes. If you don’t get one, that passion fades a little. The joy of cooking isn’t quite the same when your food is reduced to a handful of safe options. And I don’t have ten hours a day to cook.

Have you tried cooking when you can’t let one person’s food touch another’s food? You must use a new knife for everything you cut. Did I stick that spoon in this pot or that one? Better get a clean one just to be safe. What rotation day are we on? Better check so we know what your snack options are. Does this measuring cup have latex? Gotta wash my hands after I add the flour to the bowl (or buy new measuring cups). Everyone must wash up as soon as they are done eating so you don’t get an allergen on anything.

Nothing is easy.

Easy meals like sandwiches are a big undertaking. It requires me to make my own lunch meat and bake a minimum of two kinds of bread. Pizza…three separate crusts, two kinds of sauce, different toppings, some with and some without cheese, bake on separate pans, use different pizza cutters. Not so easy.

Cooking and eating at my house is like a very delicate juggling act. Fun in some ways. Not as fun in others. And one little slip up and it comes tumbling down.

Cooking is a learned skill.

When I got married I really had no idea how to cook. I had a handful of things I could make. But not very well. And most of them involved packaged foods.

Over the years I have taught myself to cook. I have learned to be creative in the kitchen with evolving food restrictions and new diets. I always gladly accept each new challenge. I’m thankful I get to share my journey and my creations with you!

The REAL Reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not to get me off the hook!

I want some replacements.

But my kids won’t be little forever. I won’t be in control of what they eat when they grow up. I can’t make choices for them when they are not home.

I want to empower my kids to take control of their own health and understand how to eat well in spite of their allergies. I want to share my passion for real food with my children.

Yes, we are working on and hopeful for healing. It would be wonderful if someday we can all eat the same food and a much larger variety of food. But that is not guaranteed.

What I can for sure give my kids is the knowledge and ability to cook and care for themselves.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Here’s the plan!

That’s where the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse comes in. We started it back in January. But I’ll be honest – life was crazy busy. We only did it sporadically.

When we did do the course my kids LOVED it. And they learned so much. Now they are always begging me to help in the kitchen.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for summer so we can dive back in and really get cooking.

The real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not so I can take it easy.

Sound good? Go check out The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse!

You can do beginner, intermediate or advanced or get all access if you have kids of all ages and skill levels. There is something for everyone. Do it at your own pace and watch the videos whenever it fits in your schedule.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Lofty goals.

My first goal for this summer is to have my eight year old be able to make an entire meal by herself, start to finish. Then in a pinch I know I could rely on her to make a meal. That may sound like an ambitious goal if your kids don’t normally cook. But she’s been cooking with me since she was nine months old. She loves helping in the kitchen. Now it’s time to let her really take responsibility.
Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.
Even my toddler can get in on the action now. I’m excited to let her practice cutting banana slices for herself and spreading lard on her bread.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even convince my husband to tune in to some of the classes and learn a few cooking skills too.

I love cooking in spite of our challenges. But I don’t want my kids to depend on me forever (well, I do, actually…can I keep them this small?). Sadly they do have to grow up.

I could say I’m teaching my kids to cook so I’m off the hook. But really that’s not it. I want them to be safe. I want them to stay healthy even if a situation comes up where I can’t be around to cook a meal. I want my children to be able to visit Grandpa and Grandma and tell them what they can eat.

How about you? Are you ready to give your kids skills for life?

Click here to register for the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse

It’s an investment in your kids’ future.

The real reason I’m teaching my kids to cook is to empower them and keep them safe and healthy. What is your motive for teaching your kids to cook?Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Need more info about picky eating and allergies? Check out my books!

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Food Allergies | Just Take A Bite

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Allergies

I’m so excited to finally share my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. I’ll tell you our story and give lots of tips for feeding children. One of the most important things to understand is how a rotation diet helps with allergies.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Food Allergies | Just Take A Bite

“You should try a rotation diet.”

I first heard those words when I went through a whole assortment of tests a few years ago and the results showed a lot of latent food allergies.

My first thought: “You want me to not eat the same foods two days in a row?”

I love leftovers.

I am a creature of habit and the queen of repetition. I could eat the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a week and not mind one bit. And if I really like something I often do eat it every day. Plus I LOVE leftovers. I’m odd but I like cold leftovers better than freshly made food. So the idea of not eating things two days in a row was crazy to me.

My second thought: “How is that going to help?”

Turns out it helps a lot. Though I didn’t fully realize it at the time.

why won't my child eat 728x90

Let’s get started!

I went home, did more research and got started. I only had one child eating solids at the time. So it wasn’t that tough to modify meals for the family and work around my new diet. I stuck with it for a while and had fun experimenting with new recipes.

Then life got busy. I gradually fell back into old habits. I had a one year old that was always on the move. And a very smart four year old that needed lots of stimulation and always wanted to learn something new. Plus I was tired and struggling with adrenal fatigue. Back to eating the same foods all the time and feeding my kids the same foods.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Allergies | Just Take A Bite

Time to get serious.

Fast forward a year and my son was diagnosed with lots of food allergies. All the allergist told us to do was avoid the worst offenders. That was it for advice.

Ok. We can do that. No dairy, eggs, rice, beans, peas, grapes, pears and a few other foods. Not fun. But we’ll manage.

Six months later we went for a retest. The allergies were worse and new ones had popped up.

It was then that I learned how a rotation diet can help with allergies and just how important it is.

Can you guess what foods my son now reacted strongly to?

All the foods he ate frequently and foods we used to replace his allergens. Oops. Mom fail. Lesson learned. Sort of.

Why Won't My Child Eat Banner Image 400x335

Too many slip-ups.

We’ve gone through this up and down cycle of sticking to food rotation and then getting busy and slipping back into old habits many times. And almost every time we pay for it by adding new allergies.

Knowing just how important rotation is, I’ve been pretty strict about enforcing it with my youngest from the start. You can see how I plan meals around her allergies in our weekly meal plans.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Allergies | Just Take A Bite

Back to that rotation thing.

That’s a little background. I hope I didn’t lose you at the mention of a rotation diet.

It’s kind of a strange concept. Basically you eat foods on a four day rotation. So if you eat an apple on Monday you can’t eat an apple again until Friday.

How does that help? And why four days?

Allergies can start or worsen with repeated exposure, especially in allergy-prone people and those with leaky guts (which includes many of us). So if you are consuming the same food day after day any reaction to that food will gradually intensify. It’s kind of like picking at a cut. The more you pick at it the worse it will get.

When you eat a problem food your body produces “masking” antibodies. After four days those antibodies are gone (if you aren’t eating the food). So you can better assess if a particular food was bothering you. If you eat the same food every day those antibodies do not clear out and you’re left guessing and having reaction upon reaction. Been there, done that.

Tailor your rotation.

Ideally you should rotate food families. But this is not always possible. My youngest does not even have enough safe foods to span four days with rotating families. So we stick with rotating individual foods and try not to have food families span more than two days. You have to do what works for you.

An added bonus of rotation is that it forces you to have variety in your diet, which leads to a broader spectrum of vitamins and minerals. This is beneficial for the whole family, not just those with allergies. So get everyone on board!

I can’t do that.

Sound like a good theory but impossible to implement? It’s not. I promise. It just takes some planning.

Here are a few simple steps:

  1. Make a list of all of the foods you can eat. You can do this for the whole family or just for the individuals with allergies.
  2. Group the safe foods into food families.
  3. Now start filling in four days, including foods from each food group (fruits, vegetables, grains/starches, fats, proteins) in each day.

I also like to group foods that we commonly eat together. For example, beef and tomatoes are good on the same day for making spaghetti with meat sauce or tacos with salsa. I include peppers and onions on those days too. Rice tends to go well with chicken or pork. I put lettuce and a few favorite salad toppings on the same day.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Allergies | Just Take A Bite

Making life easier.

Play around with it until you find a rotation that works for your family. Then start planning! Oddly enough a rotation diet can actually make meal planning easier. A lot of the decisions are made for you. The other day I was planning a meal for a day with pumpkin, rice, lettuce and cucumbers. So we had pumpkin pasta (rice noodles) and salads. Perfect!

I even manage to use leftovers by making my “day” go from dinner one day to lunch the next. So dinner leftovers can still be eaten for easy lunches. Then we start our next day with dinner again.

One down side to a rotation diet is that it can be hard to eat seasonally. It just depends on how restricted your diet is. We’ve been eating asparagus all year because my daughter likes it and tolerates it. Normally we only eat it in the spring when it’s growing in our garden. But having food options wins over eating seasonally. Not to mention on a rotation diet you can’t eat cherries every day for two weeks straight while they are fresh. The rotation is more important.

The results.

Since starting a rotation diet with my kids it is a lot easier to keep new allergies to a minimum and to spot an offending food right away. Sometimes people think I’m crazy when I say I can pinpoint food reactions in a couple days. But I can. It is because we use a rotation diet. This is also very helpful when re-introducing foods. It easy to tell right away if my child is still reacting or not. So we can try one new food a week when I think they are ready.

Before dealing with allergies my diet was about the farthest thing from rotated. I ate the same foods day after day after day. And I paid the price with a long list of latent allergies now. And I have seen firsthand how not rotating foods has negatively impacted my children.

Top priority.

Using a rotation diet is one of the most important things you can do for someone with allergies. And it is just one of the many topics I cover in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. I’ve got tips on how to observe your child for food reactions and how to deal with picky eating. I’ve even got a tried and true method for feeding a child that refuses to eat anything (I’ve been there…for months). Plus lots more.

Get your copy of Why Won’t My Child Eat?! so you can take the guess work out of behavior issues and picky eating and start enjoying meal times again.

>>  Order your copy of Why Won’t My Child Eat?!  <<

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

And don’t forget to download your FREE guide to meal planning and picky eating with two weeks of rotated meals laid out for you! It’s a great way to get started and learn more about how a rotation diet helps with allergies.

>>>>  Get your free guide here.  <<<<

Meal Planning, Picky Eating and Travel Guide Cover

Do you have kids with allergies? Do you use a rotation diet or are you stuck in a rut with a handful of safe foods?

Get out of the rut and get on the road to healing with a rotation diet. Then take the next steps to having great eaters with the tips I share in Why Won’t My Child Eat?!.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

New Year’s Goals Everyone Should Have

Don’t get caught up in the January frenzy of diets and grand resolutions. I’m sharing some New Year’s goals everyone should have that won’t leave you stressed and burned out by February.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

I’ve been making goals for myself every year for quite some time. At first they were so lengthy and detailed because my life was a mess and there was so much to work on.

Every year I scale back as I get healthier and can take more time to just enjoy life.

This year I decided to change things up again and create goals not just for myself. Instead I came up with new year’s goals everyone should have!

My goals do not include dieting, reaching a number on the scale or trying to be more crafty. Those are fine if that is what you like to do.

But for most people they just leave you burned out and feeling defeated and stressed by February.

Here are my New Year’s goals everyone should have.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

Get more rest.

This can mean sleep or just down time. Either way, we are all overworked and overstressed. Take a day off each week or aim to get to bed earlier a few nights a week. Rest and sleep are so critical for good health.

No restrictions or diets.

Make this the year to stop following the latest food trend (i.e. paleo, primal, GAPS, Whole30, HTM, low carb, high fiber, low fat, Atkins, etc.) and start listening to your body. Nobody can tell you what to eat to feel your best. Only you can figure that out.

Really pay attention to hunger signals and nutritional needs. This changes with each season of your life and even day to day. No prescribed diet can tell you if your body needs some extra protein or starch today.

Listen to your body and make choices each day based on how you are feeling and what your body needs. Restricting (whether particular foods or calories) whether it’s for a few months or just a few weeks or even days will have an impact on your metabolic health. Each time you restrict you are creating more work for yourself down the road to get your metabolism back to full strength.

If you need help with knowing what your body really needs I highly recommend HTMA.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

Move your body.

Notice that I did not say exercise. Try to move your body more each day. Movement incorporated throughout the day is more effective than sitting all day and then jogging for thirty minutes.

If you have a desk job get up every hour and take a little walk. Or keep pedals at your desk and pedal while you work. If it works for your job a treadmill desk is very effective for moving while you work (and is on my wish list!).

Strenuous exercise is just that – stress. And any stress on your body will have an impact. So don’t strain yourself and force yourself to work out. Just add movement to your whole day. A moving body is a healthy body.

Also move according to your health and ability. If you are nursing a little one or recovering from adrenal fatigue now is not the time to push yourself. Simply working around your house and taking a slow walk is sufficient movement without burdening your body.

I tend to sit a lot during the day whether I’m writing or playing on the floor with the kids or driving kids here and there. But I notice that on days where I put away laundry or grocery shop and have more movement all morning I feel so much better. I am not forcing myself to jog five miles. Just moving.

Yoga, walking and weight lifting are all great ways to move your body.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

Strive to nourish your body every day.

Pick one thing you can do each day to add nourishment to your body. Try adding one food like liver, egg yolks, probiotics, sardines, gelatin or broth each day.

Make sure you are getting a good balance of protein, carbohydrates (including starch, not just sugar) and fat that works for your body and your current health status. Figure out your metabolic type and pay attention to how different ratios of macronutrients make you feel. Then aim to get the right balance each day.

For me, that means a lot of carb/starch right now. Being a sleep deprived mom that is still nursing a 16 month old full time and being a slow oxidizer I need a LOT of starch in my diet. So my meal may look unbalanced to you since I’ll have two or three big slices of sourdough bread that make up half my meal. But if I don’t eat that way I feel rotten and cold all day and have no energy. I do balance that with lots of vegetables, pastured meats and healthy fats for all of my vitamins and minerals.

Give your body the balance and the nourishment it needs each day.

Make time for yourself and for others.

This year make people a priority. Whether that means self care or setting aside the to-do list to play with your kids or making time to connect with your spouse. People are what matter. Build relationships. Cherish them.

Extend grace to yourself and others.

We live in a very critical society. We judge others. We are bombarded with ideas of what you should or shouldn’t look like in the media. Pinterest images make us feel like we should be whipping up a new craft each day.

Let’s stop the criticism and instead show love. We all want to feel accepted and loved. So start by loving yourself and extending that grace to those around you. You can’t control how other people behave but you can be a light to others.

This also means being vulnerable. Stop hiding behind masks. Be real. Nobody is perfect. We all have flaws. And we’d all be a lot happier if we let those flaws show, accepted help where we are lacking and helped others with our strengths.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

Take time for reading God’s Word, prayer and listening.

I go in phases with making devotional time a priority. But every time I do I am amazed at how I see God at work and feel so much more at peace.

But the thing I haven’t always done is taken the time to really listen. Read your Bible and pray. Then just be silent. You can’t hear God if you don’t listen! I encourage you to slow down and keep eyes and ears open to hear God throughout the day.

Make time for fun.

There is so much pain and trouble in the world. It is important to take time to do fun things and see the good and beauty around. Go on dates with your kids. Have a family game night. Go for a walk in the woods with your spouse. Read a good book. Try something you’ve never done before. Life is often very serious. Make time for fun.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

Take joy in the little things each day.

Don’t get so busy that you miss out on the little things each day – your child’s smile, a special note from your child, a beautiful sunrise, a refrigerator  filled with food, drawers full of clean laundry, running water. There are so many things to be thankful for.

This year we could all complain less and find more joy each day.

Put down the phone!

I try my best to keep my use of electronics to a minimum when I’m not working. But I’m sure I could do even better. Put down the phone or tablet or whatever is in your hand to be able to follow through on the other goals – making relationships a priority, finding joy, having fun, listening to God.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want my kids’ memory of me to be with a phone in my hand staring at a screen instead of playing with them.

Let’s put that phone down and talk to people face to face.

It’s all about balance.

After writing all of these goals I realized I made quite a list! Which is kind of the opposite of my intention. But they are all great. Pick the ones you like or maybe just one and see if it helps you feel better in 2016.

It all boils down to balance in all areas of life. Slow down, focus on gentle movement, take time for rest, eat balanced meals without extremes or restrictions, enjoy life, pursue passions, take time for others and for God.

New Year's Goals Everyone Should Have | Just Take A Bite

Pick your word.

In addition to goals, every year I choose a word to focus on. Something God lays on my heart. Last year was GRATITUDE. The year before was LOVE. And before that ACCEPTANCE.

This year I am choosing to focus on PATIENCE. There are so many things I want to do and accomplish. There are so many things to try to squeeze in each day. I usually feel so overwhelmed by all of the need-to-dos and want-to-dos in my head.

I am working on patience and trusting in God’s plans and timing. I pray he will develop my passion for his purpose. And that I will be more patient with my children. I don’t usually enjoy a season of waiting. But I feel like that’s where I’m at right now in so many aspects of my life. So I’m going to be patient. I know God has big things planned for me when this time of waiting is over. But he has work to do on me yet while I wait.

Try picking your own word this year. What would it be?

Personal goals.

I do have a few personal goals this year. I am writing my first book and my goal is to finish it. It is something I’ve wanted to do for YEARS. But wasn’t sure exactly what to focus on. Now I know. And I’m excited (be on the lookout!).

I also want to focus on healing for my kids. They each have a ways to go to be at full health.

Finally, I want to work on my character. I want this to be the year with no more shouting and being vulnerable and letting people see the real me.

There it is. My list of New Year’s goals everyone should have. Plus a few personal goals (notice that I kept that list short so I can actually do it!).

What are your goals this year? I’d love to hear them!

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

How To Organize Your Pantry For Allergy Safety | Just Take A Bite

Pantry Organization Tips For Allergy Safety

Start the new year with some organization! Here are my top pantry organization tips for allergy safety.

Pantry Organization Tips For Allergy Safety | Just Take A Bite

There’s no way around it. Living with food allergies is a challenge.

What’s worse? When you have multiple family members with different allergies!

If I combine all of my kids’ allergies we are pretty much allergic to everything. That is not an exaggeration. Our allergies even include foods like rice, potatoes, apples and chicken.

It goes without saying that I have to be very organized to keep everyone safe. Especially my toddler that will put anything she finds in her mouth.

Whether you have one child allergic to one food or a host of allergies spanning the whole family these tips will help you stay organized and keep everyone safe.

Even if you don’t have any allergies these tips will help you keep your pantry organized and easy for kids and baby-sitters to navigate.

Head over to Super Healthy Kids where I’m sharing my tips on keeping your pantry, fridge and freezer organized and everyone safe this year.

Pantry Organization Tips For Allergy Safety | Just Take A Bite

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on the Table When School Starts

Don’t let the busyness of fall derail your real food lifestyle. Use these ten tips for keeping real food on the table to maintain your sanity and everyone’s health.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Believe it or not it is already time for school to start and all of the fall activities to begin again.

Summer was easy. There was time to prepare plenty of good food. Snacks were easy with the abundance of fresh produce.

Now life gets busier and time is limited.

So how do you keep it real?

Here are a few tips to get your fall started the right way and keep your family well fed.

Plan, Plan, Plan

One of the most important ways to make sure you are making healthy food is to plan ahead. At the start of each week or each month take a few minutes to plan meals.

Check your schedule and plan meals that work around your activities. This will also help you when grocery shopping so you know exactly what you need.

If you have to be gone most of the afternoon or everyone has a different schedule, try making a crockpot meal that will be ready whenever you need it. Maybe you’ll be home in the afternoon but won’t have time to cook. Prepare a casserole first thing in the morning so you can put dinner in the oven and go back to your to-do list.

Try planning a few meals that will have a lot of leftovers. Then transform the leftovers into another meal. Roast a chicken one night.  Then use the leftovers to make soup or stir fry another night.

No matter what is on your agenda you can feed everyone healthy food if you plan ahead.

If you need some ideas to get you going I’ve been posting weekly menus for years!  Check them out.

Stock the Freezer

As much as you try, there isn’t always time to cook a good dinner. Or maybe for you breakfast is chaotic trying to get out the door on time.  The solution is a stocked freezer.

Breakfast foods like muffins, coffee cakes, granola bars and even smoothies freeze very well. Make a few big batches of your favorite breakfast items on the weekend and you’ll have a healthy, homemade grab-and-go breakfast all week.

Another great item to have in the freezer is cooked meat. Tacos only take minutes if you have pre-cooked ground beef. Cooked chicken works well for stir fry, fajitas, sandwiches or salads.

Do casseroles work well for your family? The next time you make a casserole, make a double batch and freeze one.

Stock a few casseroles in the freezer and you’ve got a no-prep dinner just waiting for you. A frozen casserole does not need to thaw. Simply give it a few extra minutes to bake.

Cooking and baking when you have the time and stocking your freezer is one of the easiest ways to keep your family well fed.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Stock the Pantry

Maybe you haven’t had time to plan or stock your freezer yet. Now what?

Keep your pantry filled with foods like canned salmon, noodles, beans, rice, olives, dried fruit and tomatoes. A simple pasta dish will come together quickly. Cook the noodles. Add salmon, beans, tomatoes and seasoning. Dinner is served.

Stock the Refrigerator

When it comes to simple, a refrigerator filled with fresh fruits and vegetables is key. A salad can be assembled easily when there is plenty of fresh produce on hand. It is very portable as well.

Make the dressing in the bottom of a container and layer the salad toppings. Mix it when you are ready to eat.

Kids are more likely to grab fruits or vegetables to snack on if that is what is available. Nutritious food does not have to be complicated.

You can also keep easy protein sources on hand like nuts, cheese, yogurt and hard boiled eggs.

Keep Inventory

All of the preparing and stocking doesn’t do much good if you don’t know what you have. Keep track of what is in your freezer and pantry.  Every time you put something in or take something out take note.

A great way to take inventory is with a dry erase board. Then you don’t even have to open the freezer to know what you have.

Fill Up At Meals

Snacks can be the most time-consuming foods to make. They are also the most likely sources of junk food.

Make sure your meals are nutrient-dense and filling so you won’t need to snack much. A meal should have a balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Figure out what ratio works best for your body. Then stick to it at your meals to feel satisfied.

When you do need a snack something simple like fresh fruits and vegetables will be sufficient.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Make Snacks That Last

For the occasions when you do need snacks, make homemade munchies that don’t go bad easily. A batch of homemade graham crackers lasts in the cupboard for a couple months.

Dried fruit travels well and holds up to heat. Homemade fruit snacks or gummies will stay fresh in the refrigerator for weeks.

Put your effort into making food that will last more than a couple days.

Don’t Bring Junk Into the House

When life gets busy it is easy to grab convenience foods. But if the food is not in your house, you won’t eat it.

So skip buying the junk food at the store and keep the fridge and cupboard filled with quality, nutritious food.

Keep it Simple

Real food doesn’t have to be complicated. Whole milk yogurt mixed with fresh fruit or a fried egg and toast make very easy breakfasts.

Lettuce topped with nuts, cheese, dried fruit and fresh vegetables is a great lunch. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and sea salt on top for a quick dressing.

Chicken legs, potatoes and carrots placed in a crockpot in the morning will provide a nutritious and delicious dinner in the evening.

Eating real food is possible even when you only have a few minutes at a time to prepare meals.  Just keep it simple.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Let Everyone Help

Preparing good food doesn’t have to be left to one member of the family. Get kids involved with simple food preparation at a young age.

Even small children can chop fruits and vegetables, make salad dressing or assemble fruit salads. Older children can help cook at the stove and even prepare whole meals if mom and dad are busy.

Take turns planning and preparing meals throughout the week.  By dividing the work the food will be prepared faster and nobody will feel the stress of having to do it all.

As school begins and other fall activities get under way don’t panic. There are many ways to keep eating quality food and making sure your family is well nourished.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Are you ready for fall to begin? Use these simple tips for keeping real food on the table to make sure you’re eating well even if you are busy.

Looking for easy meal ideas to get your fall started?  Here are some of our favorites!

Sloppy Joes

Tacos

Salmon Salad

Split Pea Soup

Broth Burgers

Sweet and Sour Stir Fry

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Squash Soup

Sweet Potato Salmon Burgers

Chicken Nuggets

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for  you.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

The Hows and Whys of Preparing Grains

The Hows and Whys of Grains | Homemade Dutch Apple PieOne of my goals this year is to get back on track with properly preparing my grains.  I’ve been doing it for years now, but got off track with pregnancy and a new baby.

Some may say to just avoid grains.  But I tried that and learned that my body needs them!  The most unhealthy I’ve ever been was when I went grain free.  Grains can be a very healthy part of a real food, traditional diet.  Even Nourishing Traditions and GAPS mention the benefit of properly prepared grains.

So to help us all get to where we need to be I’m sharing some information about why you need to treat your grains in a special way if you are going to consume them and how it’s done.  I actually wrote most of this a couple years ago!  But never shared it here.  It’s a good reminder for myself.  Hopefully it’s a great starting point or reminder for you as well.

In the weeks following this introduction I’ve got some basics and some fun recipes coming that all involve properly prepared grains.  I hope you enjoy!

One of the oddest and most confusing aspects of real food is the idea of soaking grains.  Switching to butter instead of margarine?  No problem.  Drinking raw milk instead of pasteurized?  You bet.  Using honey instead of corn syrup?  Done.  Get your flour wet before using it?  Say that again?  Wet flour?  How could that work?  And why would you want to?  But if you understand why you might find yourself turning your favorite baked goods into healthier soaked versions. The Hows and Whys of Grains | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

It turns out there is actually a good reason to soak grains. Little things called phytates. Grains contain anti-nutrients as a protective mechanism.  This protects them from weather and animals.  But it also makes them difficult to digest.  Your digestive juices are enemies of the grains just like any external enemy.  Grains also have compounds that prevent active enzyme activity in your digestive system. This puts stress on your pancreas. 

In the unsoaked state grains contain phytates, which makes the minerals in the grains unavailable to you.  This can lead to mineral deficiencies and poor bone density (one more thing I learned the hard way when I found out I have seven cavities!). Both enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid can be mostly neutralized by soaking the grains. This makes them easier to digest and makes the nutrients available to your body. This process also begins to pre-digest the grains, breaking down complex starches and tannins that can irritate your stomach, as well as beginning to break down proteins like gluten.The Hows and Whys of Grains | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

So without soaking the grains they are very difficult to digest and are actually harmful to your body.  This holds true for gluten-containing grains like wheat and rye but also for alternative grains like oats, amaranth and teff.  In fact oats, such a dietary staple for so many, has the highest phytate content of any grains!

Grains that are not properly prepared are harmful.  So how do you make them healthy? It’s not as hard as you might think. And, honestly, soaking often makes baking easier! It breaks up the process into very short steps that only take a few minutes here and there. The main thing you have to be willing to do is plan ahead. Soaking does take time. So if you want soaked pancakes in the morning, you have to plan and get them started the day before.The Hows and Whys of Grains | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

The basic idea is that you use cultured dairy or another acid medium like lemon juice to soak the grains for at least 7 hours (ideally 24 hours) before using them.  The length of time required will depend on the grain.

The easiest way to start is by using recipes that give exact instructions on what ingredients to use, how much and how long. Once you get the hang of it you can start experimenting.  Simply replace the liquid in the recipe with a cultured/acidic medium (kefir, buttermilk, yogurt or warm water mixed with lemon juice), mix it with the grains, cover the bowl and let it sit.  Then proceed with the recipe after the grains have soaked.  You can also add the fat/oil during the soaking step.

Soaking can be used on all kinds of grains…wheat, oats, rice, etc. It is also used for lentils, beans and nuts.  There are a few exceptions to the rule.  Coconut flour, white rice, millet and flax seed are relatively low in phytic acid.  Although soaking them will still be beneficial it is not as critical.

Although millet is low in phytic acid, it is goitrogenic.  So limit your  millet intake if you have thyroid problems.

So what do you do if you don’t have time to soak your flour before baking, or what if you forgot to plan ahead? An alternative is to sprout the grains.  This is helpful for those times you have to do some last minute baking. Simply sprout the grains, dry them and grind them into flour. Then the phytates are already neutralized and you don’t have to soak it.  You can buy sprouted grains if you do not want to make your own.The Hows and Whys of Grains | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

A third option for dealing with phytates is sourdough. Sourdough also breaks down the phytates and makes the grains easier to digest. Sourdough can be used for all kinds of baked goods.  If you want bread, sourdough is the way to go.

Soaking grains is a critical step in the baking process if you are not using sprouted grains or a sourdough starter.  It is important for aiding digestion for everyone.  It is especially crucial for anyone with a leaky gut, food allergies or food intolerances.  Even if you avoid some of the common grains like wheat and corn, you still have to properly prepare your food.  If you have cut gluten out of your diet but have not noticed any improvement, try soaking the gluten free grains you eat. 

Some alternative grains and flours are teff, amaranth, tapicoa, millet, rice (white and brown), quinoa, coconut, hemp and garbanzo bean.  These can be prepared in the same manner as their traditional counterparts. The Hows and Whys of Grains | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

The next time you start baking ask yourself one question: “Is my flour wet?”  If it is you’re on your way to a tasty treat that will be easier on your gut and provide your body with important vitamins and minerals.

Do you consume grains?  What is your favorite way to prepare them?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

eMeals

Do you struggle with planning meals?  Would you like it if someone told you exactly what to make and what groceries you need to buy?

Check out eMeals!  They now have options for diets like primal/paleo and natural/whole foods.

You can use tools like this handy grocery list so you aren’t going back and forth to the store all week.  You’ll have your meals and your list and can make one trip.  You’ll save time and money.

You can even get a 15% discount by using the code newyear.

If you’ve never looked into eMeals you should check it out.  You can get healthy meal plans and save money.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.